Publishing Choices…


Writing Wednesday

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Every Wednesday I share some of the things I have found that worked well for me and some that didn’t work so well on my journey to publication, marketing and publishing again.  The sort of stuff I wish somebody would have told me back then…

 Publishing Choices


Traditional Publishing is still number one through six in sales, in publications and in best -selling titles, in the world. Those top six companies are:

Hatchette Book Group

Harper Collins


Penguin Group

Random House

Simon and Shuster (name owned by CBS)

Each of these companies also own dozens of smaller companies known as imprints. An imprint may be used when publishing in a narrow field such as sci-fi or fantasy. How it works:

Traditional publishers in most cases will only work with literary agents. If you want to be traditionally published you will first need an agent.

How it works:

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Submit your finished, professionally edited manuscript to an agent

If they decide to sign you they will have you go through another round of edits

They will try to sell your manuscript to a publisher

They will negotiate a contract on your behalf

They will receive a percentage of your sales

Once they have sold your manuscript to a publisher:

You will go through yet another round of editing

A cover will be designed and a title will be decided on

Conceptual editing will be done (styling)

The Advantages of Traditional Publishing:

They put up the front money for editing, copyrighting, distribution, listing with vendors, ISBN number, marketing and advertising. They may even provide an advance. The big Publishers have connections w/ T.V., radio, Magazines etc… Prestige and credibility. Your book will be released in Hardcover and then 8 months to a year later it will be re-released in paperback. Chances are much better for international sales.

Disadvantages of Traditional Publishing: 

Lack of control over everything involving your book including style, title, where it is sold, how it is marketed etc…

Earnings- You do not get paid until your advance is paid back (if you received one), royalties tend to be paid at lower percentages than other types of companies

The process tends to be impersonal

If the Publisher does not make their initial investment back in two-years they may drop you

The time frame from signing to publication can take up to two-years

Independent Publishing

Independent Publishers tend to be smaller companies and can be imprints of a larger company. Most of them operate ‘under one roof’ meaning they have editing, marketing etc…in house.

There are hundreds of Independent Publishing companies with new ones starting up every day.

Advantages of publishing with an Independent Publisher:

Pic of Maya Angelou quote Writing

They may or may not require you to be represented by an agent, More author attention, Time from signing to publication can be as quick as one year,  Prestige and credibility, better royalty agreement.

Disadvantages of publishing with an Independent Publisher:

Less opportunity for international sales, not impossible but unlikely

You will need to do most of the marketing

Your book may be released as an e-book prior to paperback release. It may not be released in hardcover.

Boutique, Hybrid, Subsidy, Vanity, Print on Demand and Assisted Self- Publishing Companies

This is where the publishing water gets very murky. These companies charge fees for services. Some of them are very good companies that do exactly what they say they will do and some of them are very bad companies. Some of them are extremely choosy over what they accept for publication and others will print anything. If you choose this route for publishing you must research the company, have any contract looked at by a literary attorney, request author references and order a few books that the company published to check the quality.

These companies may offer different publishing packages ranging in price from $10,000 for complete preparation to release services, $5,000 for less services and $600 or less for assistance with self-publishing such as ISBN number (your books social security number) copyrighting and formatting for Amazon and Barnes & Noble on line listings.

Advantages to this type of Publishing:

More control artistically, the highest royalties paid,  a good option for special interest, regional, self-help, speakers, cookbooks and celebrities, quicker to release (less than a year.)


Some of these disadvantages are changing, rapidly. The stigma surrounding self publishing is eroding. To break through these barriers, write a good book and make sure it is professionally edited and professionally formatted.

Most libraries and book stores will not stock these books.

Lack of credibility.

Many professional reviewers will not review these books.

Some of these companies don’t handle returns and that is a distribution problem.

Keep Writing,



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